Located within a stone’s throw of Prahran Market, aptly named cafe-come-bar, Abacus, breathes new life into an old Westpac bank building. An urban oasis in the heart of Melbourne’s south, Abacus offers specialty coffee, inventive brunches and good vibes.
The venue was established in 2016 by Dylan Whitmore. Extremely passionate about the hospitality industry, Dylan is somewhat of an expert, having owned several cafes in northern New South Wales as well as overseas, which explains the relaxed, tropical nature of the space.
When it came to Abacus, Dylan wanted to create somewhere that customers could come and stay, sipping on bottomless batch brew and watching the world go by. He turned to the team at Architects EAT to transform the space into a modern oasis: think an open kitchen, high ceilings with wood and concrete interiors, and a seven-metre tall fig tree in the middle of the restaurant. This grand design is complemented by an equal focus on the little details: plates were designed by porcelain designer Studio Enti and handcrafted by ceramicist, Naomi Taplin.
Boutaina Richardson takes the reins as Manager, ensuring caffeine devotees who visit the space are well looked after. Rounding out the team, the talented barista behind the Slayer machine is Taiwanese-born Gabriella Huang, who spent four years working at coffee hot spots throughout Melbourne before joining the Abacus family.
Gabriella expertly prepares Padre coffee for all who enter its doors. The house blend is Daddy’s Girl, a mix of beans from Colombia and India with a sweet chocolate and caramel kick. A rotating single origin selection is also on offer with high quality beans showcased throughout the year.
As is to be expected of a Melbourne cafe, Abacus features a killer brunch line up. Chris Connolly (ex Top Paddock) has crafted a modern Australian menu with subtle influences from Spain and northern Africa. Pair a Padre coffee with an artfully plated serving of buckwheat and chia crepes served with berries, cream, saffron pear, Tim Tams and ganache – you won’t be disappointed.
As the sun goes down, filter and batch brew coffees are swapped out for the ever-popular espresso martini, while colourful brunches are replaced with share plates and crispy wood-fired pizzas. Rest assured that whatever time of day you visit, Padre coffee is ready and waiting.
While the business is still relatively new, Abacus will continue to grow and develop. In particular, there are plans afoot for the business to become completely waste-free in the near future.
Abacus brings a slice of paradise to Melbourne’s bustling Chapel Street precinct. From an incredibly sought after location, the tropical-inspired space dishes out quality coffee, delicious fare and friendly feels to all.